How to Teach Your Dog to “Leave It”

Leave ItWhen I was first trained in dog obedience, I was a little puzzled on why the “leave it” command was so important or why it might be useful. After reading through my first manual, the light bulb clicked on and I could easily see the importance of this command; especially from a safety standpoint for your dog.

When might you use the “Leave It” command?

I know that this is going to see gross and unthinkable if you’ve never had a dog before, but some dogs actually eat dog poop off of the grass. This is called coprophagia. The “Leave it” command would be perfect in this situation.

You could also use the “Leave it” command if you drop a pill or a contact lens on the floor that you don’t want your puppy to ingest.

Imagine going on a walk with your dog and you come across a snake in the grass. Your dog will probably pick up on it right away. You can simply say “Leave it” and walk away from the snake.

This is also a great command to use if your dog likes to chew on your shoes, like so many dogs do.

There are countless other times when this command will be useful to you.


Learn how to train your dog to leave something alone when they are told to in this free video clip. Expert: Jim Leske Bio: My name is Jim Leske, Animal Behaviorist & Trainer. Filmmaker: Louis Nathan
Step-by-Step Instruction for “Leave It”

  1. Sit down on the floor with your dog in front of you.
  2. In one hand, place a piece of your puppy’s dried food. (Leave it treat)
  3. In the other hand, place your puppy’s favorite treat in the whole wide world.
  4. Open your hand containing the dried dog food piece.
  5. Reach your hand out towards your puppy, but don’t allow them to take the food.
    One of two reactions will happen here.
    a) Your puppy ignores your hand and doesn’t try to get the food out of your hand. If this happens say “Good” and give them the special treat from your other hand.
    b) Your puppy scratches and bites to get that piece of food from your hand.
    Remove your hand where your dog can’t reach it and ignore your dog. After a few seconds, try starting at Step 4 again.
  6. Your puppy will soon realize that if he can resist the “Leave it” treat of dried dog food, that he will soon be rewarded by one of his favorite treats, which he prefers.

Time to Add in the Command “Leave It”

  1. Sit down on the floor with your dog in front of you.
  2. In one hand, place a piece of your puppy’s dried food. (Leave it treat)
  3. In the other hand, place your puppy’s favorite treat in the whole wide world.
  4. Open your hand containing the dried dog food piece and say “Leave It.”
  5. Reach your hand out towards your puppy, and see if they will leave the food.
  6. If your puppy ignores your hand and doesn’t try to get the food out of your hand, say “Good” and give them the special treat from your other hand.

Introducing Other Variables

  1. Take your dog outside for a walk.
  2. While your dog is distracted, place a treat on the sidewalk.
  3. Walk your dog in the direction of the treat, so the dog will see it, but not be able to reach it.
  4. As you are walking closer to the treat, say “Leave it”
  5. If your dog does leave it, and walks past the treat, reward them with a treat from your pocket.

The more that you are able to practice the “Leave It” command, the better your dog will understand what is expected from him.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you a human? *